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Human Ecology is the study of all relationships that take place between human beings and nature. Under this discipline, human culture and behaviour are not seen as a sole product of society, but also as the result of the influence of and interaction with physical and biological variables. As such, several ecological concepts ranging in scale from population to evolutionary ecology are commonly applied and associated to economic, anthropological and sociological theories and applications.

Writing about Current Trends in Human Ecology is a dynamic task, due to a diverse domain of research and multiple scales that have resulted in the accelerated development and rapid production of evolving approaches. This can be certainly observed within the meetings of the Society for Human Ecology (SHE) and its themes to date.

This book catches a glimpse of today's intellectual diversity and recent trends in the field of Human Ecology. Based on the XVth SHE International Meeting held in Rio de Janeiro (October 2007), this book shows the varied research lines that were presented at that time. However, this volume goes beyond the meeting as it lays out a detailed cumulative summary of the current trends in human ecology.

SHE has been an institutional foundation that collects up-to-date developments in human ecology topics, facilitating critical analysis and making them available through conferences, peer-reviewed journals and scientific gatherings. As an interdisciplinary field, Human Ecology is a novelty and only recently has it started to be included in the academic curricula, despite its critical relevance, given emerging social and environmental challenges. Borden (2008) wrote a brief history of the Society for Human Ecology, highlighting some of these important aspects inherent to an interdisciplinary field:

Each discipline has a home territory, architecturally walled off as its own domain. Some of the fiercest barriers divide adjacent fields. It is little wonder that interdisciplinary pursuits have struggled to secure a place in modern universities. These are the obstacles the founders of the Society for Human Ecology confronted. They still remain. It is unlikely they will ever disappear.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Current Trends in Human Ecology
    Anthropology, sociology, and ecology come together in this book, where the unifying goal of theorizing and practising interdisciplinarity in human ecology is shown by, closely tracking examples of current trends and developments. This book is a harvest from the XV International Meeting of the Society for Human Ecology, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 4-7, 2007. This volume ends by indicating several lines of thought and of analyses on current subjects, as follows: sustainability in different cultural contexts and perspectives, methods towards approaching sustainable systems, and current global concerns. Those include agriculture in tropical areas (slash-and-burn practices), climate change, and nature and human behavioural patterns, among others.
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